With Sammi Boyd yelling encouragement, Heidi Buxengard passes the ball from the back row during 3-0 victory over Hope Lutheran.
With Sammi Boyd yelling encouragement, Heidi Buxengard passes the ball from the back row during 3-0 victory over Hope Lutheran.
Homecoming week brought a pair of volleyball matches to the new gymnasium floor at Spring Grove. The Lions never dropped a set, shutting out both SEC opponents.

SG vs. Lyle/Pacelli, Sept. 24

Lyle/Pacelli came to town as the top team in the SEC West Division. But the Athletics suffered from ball-handling errors on Tuesday, coming up short 26-24, 25-13, 25-20.

Lyle/Pacelli created a few more attacks, but Spring Grove put away a few more kills (27 to 20). The Lions were accurate on the attack, amassing their second-highest hitting-efficiency of the season (23%) while L/P hit at 8%.

Hitting efficiency is expressed as kills minus errors divided by total attempts. Therefore, many more successful kills than hitting errors are needed to climb above 20%. That disparity plus 10 L/P ball-handling errors hindered the Athletics (9-10, 5-3 SEC) who despite the loss remained tied atop the West Division.

The Athletics put up some stiff competition, but were not as consistent as the Lions.

SG (21-7, 6-2 SEC East) led 18-10 in both of the first two sets. In set one, L/P came right back with its best offensive stretch of the night. A strong 9-1 Athletic run left the Lions up by only one (20-19).

L/P never took the lead but tied it at 24-all, the first tie score since 5-5. Then, kills by sophomore setter Jordan Anderson and junior hitter Kailee Bjerke gave SG the 26-24 win.

The Athletics would not rally in set two, totaling just over half the home team's points.

During set three, Spring Grove led most of the time but did not begin to pull away until erasing a 13-12 deficit with a 5-point run. SG maintained 4-to-6 point leads the rest of the way.

L/P senior 5-foot-10 outside hitter Annie Holtz led all scorers with 12 points (10 kills, 2 ace blocks).

Lion scoring was extraordinarily balanced. Eight players had between 2 and 5 kills. Tara Solberg led with 5. Anderson assisted on 19 of the 27 SG kills and also scored with 4 kill shots of her own.

With 7 points apiece, Aly Folz and Nicki Ellingson were the only two Lions to score in all three ways - kills, blocks, aces. Folz had 4 kills, one block and 2 ace serves while Ellingson had 4 kills, 2 blocks and one service ace.

The outcome was determined more at the net and with ball-handling than at the service line. SG served 10 aces while surrendering 8 points via errors. L/P served 8 aces but had 9 errors.

Players serving more aces than errors included Sammi Boyd (3 aces), Folz (2), Anderson (2) and Carrie Hagen (1).

L/P won the B-team match 2-0. There was no freshman match.


SET ASSISTS 19: Jordan Anderson 19.

KILLS 27: Tara Solberg 5, Aly Folz 4, Samantha Bratland 4, Nicki Ellingson 4, Jordan Anderson 4, Sierra Hunter 2, Kailee Bjerke 2, Heidi Buxengard 2.

ACE BLOCKS 5: Nicki Ellingson 2, Kailee Bjerke 1, Samantha Bratland 1, Aly Folz 1.

SERVICE ACES 10: Sammi Boyd 3, Aly Folz 2, Jordan Anderson 2, Carrie Hagen 1, Samantha Bratland 1, Nicki Ellingson 1

SG vs. Hope Luth., Sept. 26

The Lions completed their Homecoming Week sweep two days later, winning 25-16, 25-14, 25-14.

Statistically, SG (15-7, 7-2 SEC) played just as well as they had in the team's first meeting three weeks earlier. But Hope (6-9, 4-5 SEC) was not nearly as effective statistically as it had been in the Sept. 5 five-set loss to the Lions.

Spring Grove dominated the rematch, outscoring the Patriots by 22 points at the net and by 4 points at the service line.

With 30 kills and 14 hitting errors, SG had a hitting efficiency of 18% while Hope was in negative territory at 0% (more errors than successful kills).

However, it was a slow start in set one for SG hitters (8 kills, 7 errors). But Lion servers came through with 6 aces and only 2 errors, leading the way to a 25-16 win.

In the final two sets, SG serving cooled off, but hitting improved markedly. In each set, the Patriots gave away more points with errors than they earned with winning plays.

Ellingson, the Homecoming queen, was extremely efficient with 12 kills (no errors), 2 blocks and 2 service aces.

Bratland (4 kills), libero Lauren Arneson (3), Solberg (3), Heidi Buxengard (2) and Sierra Hunter (2) all had more kills than off-target attacks.

Boyd was nearly flawless at the service line, blasting 6 aces while serving 23 for 24.


SET ASSISTS 27: Jordan Anderson 25, Kailee Bjerke 1, Nicki Ellingson 1.

KILLS 30: Nicki Ellingson 12, Samantha Bratland 4, Tara Solberg 3, Lauren Arneson 3, Sierra Hunter 2, Jordan Anderson 2, Heidi Buxengard 2, Aly Folz 1, Kailee Bjerke 1.

ACE BLOCKS 4: Nicki Ellingson 2, Kailee Bjerke 1, Aly Folz 1.

SERVICE ACES 13: Sammi Boyd 6 (23 for 24), Samantha Bratland 3 (17 for 21), Nicki Ellingson 2 (5 for 5), Heidi Buxengard 1 (1 for 3), Jordan Anderson 1 (3 for 5), Also: Tara Solberg 7 for 7, Aly Folz 5 for 5, Carrie Hagen 1 for 1, Sierra Hunter 2 for 3

Up Next:

On Monday, Sept. 30, the Lions travel to Rushford-Peterson. The following night, they will host Leroy-Ostrander. On Thursday, Oct. 3, SG hosts the Houston Hurricanes.

SEC standings through Sept. 30 matches


Mabel-Canton 10-0 SEC (27-2 season)

Spring Grove 8-2 (16-8)

Houston 7-3 (12-10)

Hope Lutheran 4-5 (10-10)

Lanesboro 1-9 (2-12)


Grand Meadow 7-3 (9-11)

Lyle/Pacelli 6-4 (10-11)

Schaeffer Academy 4-5 (4-9)

LeRoy-Ostrander 1-9 (2-17)

Glenville-Emmons 1-9 (1-14)

Claass A State coaches poll Sept. 30

Rank (previous week) team

1 (1) Fillmore Central 17-2)

2 (3) Minneota 18-1

3 (2) Southwest Christian 14-1

4 (5) Win-E-Mac 19-1

5 (4) Bethlehem Academy 9-7

6 (6) Mabel-Canton 25-2

7 (7) Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 14-3

8 (8) Tracy- Milroy-Balaton 15-5

9 (10) Nevis 10-3

10 (9) Windom Area 10-5